Cats history to go on display

March 16, 2019 12:05 am in by
A panoramic photo of Corio Oval in 1912. (Images courtesy of the Bob Gartland Collection.)

RARE and treasured items from one of the most extensive private collections of Australian Rules football memorabilia will go on display to the public later this year.

Geelong Gallery will play host to The Greatest Team of All – treasures from the Bob Gartland Collection for seven weeks starting in late September.

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Gartland, who is currently vice-president of the Geelong Football Club, has been collecting items relating to the Cats for more than 50 years.

“It has been my vision for many years to take my collection beyond the Football Club and into the community,”  he said.

“I was delighted when Geelong Gallery committed to the exhibition and hope that it brings many people joy in retracing this mighty Club’s visual and social history.”

Among the items to be featured in the exhibition is a Geelong Football Club membership ticket from 1864, an umpire’s whistle from 1886 that is believed to be the first used, George Heinz’s lace-up jumper from 1912 and a letter from legendary coach Reg Hickey to the father of 1952 best-and-fairest Geoff Williams.

“The Greatest Team of All—treasures from the Bob Gartland collection will bring to life the history and contemporary relevance of a club that engenders extraordinary civic pride.” Gallery director and CEO Jason Smith said.

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“We expect this much-anticipated exhibition will attract considerable attention from the Geelong region and further afield.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Bob on this exhibition and I look forward to seeing the community discover the hidden treasures amassed in this exceptional private collection.”

Twitter: @tom_king79


1864:  Membership ticket – Probably oldest Football membership ticket in the world

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1875: “The Footballer” – The earliest football guide in the history of football 1884 Premiership Medals (2) Solid Gold (Tom Cahill & John Bolton)

1886: Umpires whistle – Probably the first whistle used in Australian Rules football.

1800s: Scrapbooks – Peter Burns, Jim D’Helin

1900: Football cards & Album- Oldest complete set of Geelong football cards

1912″ “News of the Week” – Corio Oval photograph & reprinted enlargement

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1912: Canvas lace up jumper – George Heinz

1923: Cat badge/pin – Creation of the Cat as Geelong’s mascot/nickname

1924: Brownlow letter – Letter to Mrs Brownlow creating the Brownlow Medal

1952 Reg Hickey letter – Letter to Geoff Williams’ father after winning best-and-fairest